Kyrie Irving is the Brooklyn Nets’ point guard.
Stephen A. Smith thinks that people are sleeping on him.
“Kyrie, I’m really getting tired of people not realizing who the hell Kyrie Irving is,” Smith told Ebro Darden on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning.
“You do walk through the turnstiles to see that brotha. This ain’t some Tim Duncan-type where it’s like: ‘yo he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s great, he’s a champion, big fundamentals.’ No no, Kyrie, you walk through the turnstiles to see the Spurs and that’s all they have in San Antonio is the Spurs and obviously Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward to ever live. But the bottom line is, he wasn’t box office per se. He’s an absolute winner but not box office. Kyrie is box office. He is a showstopper. You walk through the turnstiles to watch this brotha dance and the brotha was doing it in Cleveland and he was doing it in Boston. This brotha is from New Jersey. Can you imagine what he’s gonna do at the Barclays Center? Oh Kyrie is ready to put on a show and he will!”
Smith is not the only figurehead excited about Irving in Brooklyn.
NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal tells me he likes what the Nets are doing. “Jay-Z gave them a little steam when he said he was the owner,” Shaq told Scoop B Radio.
“He’s going to be there with KD so they should make a lot of noise. Only unfortunate part for the first time in New York history the Knicks aren’t the important team. That’s kind of funny to me.”
A West Orange, New Jersey native, Kyrie Irving grew up liking the then-New Jersey Nets when they ran the NBA’s Eastern Conference during the days of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.
Irving was a fan of Kidd.
“Watching him play was a pleasure,” Irving told me of Kidd when he was hired as head coach of Brooklyn back in 2013.
“His IQ. Just watching the way he plays the game. Not many people have that niche and that feel for the game.”
As a kid, Irving watched that Nets team make back to back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Ironically, the Nets were coached by Byron Scott who lived in Livingston, NJ; a town next door to West Orange.
It was a childhood dream come true.
“I’m not celebrating today, I’m resting,” Irving told both Brett Carroll and Charles Daye on the the D.O.P.E. in his first interview since joining the Nets.
When asked by Carroll and Daye his first reaction since joining the Nets, Irving was at a loss of words.
“Wow, Wow,” said Irving.
“It’s been a long free agency, it’s been a long ride.
“Set the world on fire.
“Nets fans around the world unite.”
The Nets opening training camp this month. Their media day is set for Friday and they make their regular season debut next month.